Amina Ali Nkeki was kidnapped by the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram more than two years ago, and she was just a mere schoolgirl.

On Tuesday night, she apparently wandered out of a forest, asking for help, accompanied by a 4-month-old baby and a man who claimed to be her husband, according to witnesses. The man is being investigated by Nigeria’s joint intelligence center.

Amina Ali is the first of the more than 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram to be freed after the two years in captivity, Nigerian military officials say.

Military officials and locals gave different accounts of how she was found . Nigeria’s army said she was rescued by army troops, but the local witnesses are saying the girl wandered out of the forest in the northeast of the country along with her child and a man.


The kidnapping of nearly 300 girls during exam time at their boarding school in the Nigerian town of Chibok shocked the world and helped galvanize pressure on the government to fight Boko Haram, an Islamist militant group that has terrorized parts of northern Nigeria for years.

Some girls managed to escape shortly after the fighters stormed their school and hauled their classmates away. But Ms. Ali is the first girl to be found since the early days of the episode.

The witness, Aboku Gaji, said he was participating in a nightly patrol on the edge of the Sambisa Forest with the Civilian Joint Task Force, a vigilante group set up to help fight Boko Haram, when the girl and some companions wandered out around 7 p.m.

He said her name was Amina Ali Nkeki, and he recognized her as one of the missing schoolgirls, although she looked different and was in poor physical condition, as were the baby and man with her.

“Their bodies didn’t look good,” Gaji said. “They had had no bath and were in a dirty condition.”

The young woman was part of a group asking for help, including a man who identified himself as her husband and the father of her baby, Gaji said.

The man said he had been kidnapped by Boko Haram from the town of Mubi, taken to Sambisa Forest and married to Nkeki.


Members of the vigilante group took Ms. Ali to Chibok, where her mother saw her and confirmed her identity. Other members of the community of Chibok also confirmed that Ms. Ali had been found. She told her family that the other girls from Chibok were still in the forest but that six of them had died.

She may be taken to Abuja on Thursday with her parents to meet the President, according to an army statement.

“It’s a joyful time for me,” said a distant relative, who is the father of another of the abducted girls.

The military confirmed in a statement that “the suspected Boko Haram terrorist and the nursing mother have been taken to Maiduguri for further medical attention and screening.”


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Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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